Okay some updates...
We got chickens for egg laying and eventually eating. We're starting with just 4 and operating under the assumption that the kids will love them until they have to actually take care of them.
Loki the GSD can't wait. So far, he has been great with them often content to just watch and lick his chops. Our neighbor's dog, a pitbull mix puppy, realized they were delicious almost immediately and killed one and crippled the other, so we've had 2 casualties and replacements already. It was tough on the kids, but as I kept reminding them, it was a lot tougher on the chickens. They're outside now as 5 week olds in a "chicken tractor" consisting of a small platic storage box with nesting boxes inside it and a cat door out to our dog's old crate. The idea here being to be able to 1) move it around easily, and 2) use a hose to spray it clean as it gets nasty. 3 nights and no snakes, foxes, or attempted break-ins so far.
I took the kids to a YMCA campout, part of the "Indian Princess" program... think of girl scouts with more emphasis on fun activities and less on merit badges. "You ran the obstacle course!?! Awesome, here's a patch!" Not exactly roughing it, but the kids had a fun time in spite of having to remove no less than 5 ticks, in March. Sighs. My IFAK was used often between ticks, a saw-cut hand, and various scrapes and burns. All in all, it was good fun. My oldest got a bullseye in 22LR shooting which put our tribe at the top of the nation for riflery. Other daughter did okay, but both seem to be going through a phase where they just don't care about guns. Archery was a wash too because the YMCA bows were crap compared to the ones we've been playing with here at home. Of note, last time I went camping, a bird crapped on my tent. I cleaned it best I could but apparently not quite well enough... when I set up for this camp out, the "residue" had eaten tiny holes in the tent fabric. Sail patch tape sticks quite nicely to tents though and makes a good repair patch. I have say though that a patched tent looks like a rusty car up on blocks. Still, we're after utility right?
We've also added some archery into our family's life. Anyone surprised at all that Doomsday Preppers isn't showing anyone (besides the roadkill eating guy in Maine's throwing sticks and tomahawks) preparing or training with non-firearms... and yeah, I saw the guy in AZ with the tricked out shovel. That's not what I mean. Slingshots, bows, etc...
Wife is going primitive/traditional style.
I like more current archery gear.
Stun Gun story. ZAP Light 1M Stun Gun/Flashlight here...
My wife and I decided to get a stun gun as part of picking one up for my mom who has a late night art class in DC for her birthday. These recharge off a car's 12V or plug in wall. By itself, it's a nice and bright blinding flashlight. You push the light button up one more time and it arms. The metal prongs pierce clothing and help to limit the shocking to the muscle group affected. Most states consider these as weaopns you cannot conceal. So having it out in flashlight mode works quite nicely as it's bright enough that if you shine it in someone's face, they'd have to really mean business to keep coming. Just like the movies, you get a nice electric arc and it is loud. I'd put it up there at around 90 db loud. More powerful than 1M volts and you actually just end up burning the person rather than shocking them. Less than 1M and it seems like you don't really slow them down, just piss them off. So that's why we went with 1M instead of something else. So, we played with this to learn how they work. First of all, double layer jeans will block the stun, as will anything leather. Shoe bottoms are impervious. That being said, the metal prongs help the charge get through clothing. Just barely touching this to my leg for a fraction of a second, we're not massochists I promise, felt like I was charlie horsing my leg and hours later it felt like I had sunburned the contact area. My wife is not ashamed to admit she screamed like a girl. The only real con of this is that you can't leave it unplugged in as the charge seems to actually dissipate over about 10 days. It also seems more effective during less humid days (low humidity equals super bright arc and very loud crackling sound). My mom has gotten quite a kick out of this as she can use it in flashlight mode and feels very safe with it. Though she hasn't come out and said she loves it, my dad has shared a few stories with me about how her attitude has changed when she goes walking at night or early morning, or when she's out shopping late at night or after her DC classes. There is a method to stun guns where you want to score a hit on the assailant. They'll pull back and when they do, you pick and choose to hit them more firmly for a good 3 "mississippi" count... which will leave them shaking and probably not wanting to pursue you. Fully charged, this little puppy will discharge the entire battery in about 30 seconds.
Lastly, early on in this thread, I had asked about arboring gear. Today I scaled a tree in our front yard in preparation for a tire swing. I used a lineman's belt and hunting strap-on ladders as I didn't particularly feel like maiming the trees. They don't look like they are very strong... but I was surprised how sturgy they actually are. Like using hammock straps, friction with the bark and the metal ladder frames prevent it from pivoting around. Now, I'm not going to jump up and down on these, but I weigh 190 lbs and they held me. I have a rigger's belt from Tactical Tailor I used for my pistol setup. I used that with the lineman's strap and had some rope just in case. It was all fine and good. great work out too. I got about 40' feel up I would guess... but I just went out with a rangefinder... 8 freaking yards, so 24 feet. LOL. Makes me want to climb some of the other trees around the house. Quite a different view from up here:
Ticks... I have been all over Maryland, PA, and parts of WVA and VA and have never had problems with ticks till I got to the Richmond area. What gives Richmond?! These things are nasty. It's March and ticks are everywhere. At first, we tried the hot match ember... nothing. Then we tried vaseline... nothing. Then we tried tweezers, but the problem is that they're so compressable that they often get away from tweezers. So finally, I busted out my Leatherman Skeletool and... wow, new use for the skeletool pliers. These things are like tick magnets. And then I burn them because they seem indestructible.